Some wine terms are used often and some terms are unusual. Sometimes when you see them in context you wonder why there isn’t a simpler way to make a point.
I was at a wine tasting this week and during the discussions these terms came up and a few questions were raised. I’d like to say that everyone is familiar with these terms, but in fact there might be some who are not so I thought I would share these few terms.
American Viticultural Area OR AVA: A specifically defined geographical grape-growing area which has been designated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. (Napa, Sonoma)
Ampelography: This is the study of and identification of grape varieties.
Appellation: The designated area where the grapes are grown (Bordeaux, Alexander Valley or Russian River Valley, Tuscany). Regulations vary widely from country to country.
Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée or AOC: The appellation designation in France that comes with a comprehensive set of rules and regulations to which winemakers must adhere. Each designation has its own precise geographic area in which a given French wine can be made, the types of grapes used, how the vines are grown and how the wine is made.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata OR DOC: This is the Italian appellation designation equivalent to France’s AOC laws. There is also a slightly more strict set of regulations in Italy known as Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita OR DOCG.
Terroir: This word is derived from the French word “Terre” which translates to earth. This is the environment (the climate, soil, elevation) surrounding a specific grape variety (where the grapevines are planted and grown).
Viniculture: The science of grape production for wine making.
Viticultural Area: Defines a legal grape-growing area distinguished by geographical features, climate, soil, elevation, history and other definable boundaries. Rules vary widely from region to region.
Viticulture: The cultivation, science and study of grapes.